Island Living at its Best
Sherlock Holmes had Watson; Jen Howard has Michael Holmes. She designs and builds homes, and he sells them. Their long partnership has involved the sale of over 80 homes in Rye. Their most recent endeavor, a four-bedroom Shingle Style home on Pine Island, is one they’ll be both be sad to part with.
A carriage house formerly sat on the one-acre property and the site was tricky, explained Howard, because of all the surrounding water. But she and architect Rex Gedney came up with practical solutions while capturing breathtaking views on three sides. From the mahogany roof deck, you look out on water — tidal bays, Long Island Sound — everywhere.
A successful kitchen and bath designer, Howard had fun with those rooms here. In the kitchen, she didn’t want a lot of upper cabinets taking away from the view, so the storage is below counter and in the pantry, where she made room for the microwave and an extra freezer. She designed a drop-down bar that can also serve as “the command center”. The refrigerator and a columnar cabinet on the other side of the sink have back-painted glass fronts, which add to the sparkle. In the bathrooms, all of which have toe-kick lights under the vanity, she wasn’t afraid to mix metals — notably satin nickel and brass.
The first-floor plan is flexible and flowing. The dining room could be right off the kitchen or past the living and family rooms. The home office could be a guest room, but it’s so inviting that it may be just as well to check your guests into the Marriott.
The nickel-groove paneling throughout the hallways gives the house a contemporary Nantucket feel. A number of recycled materials were used in the construction and the roof is fabricated slate, which holds up well near the water.
In 4,600 square feet, every space is light-filled and perfectly proportioned. It’s that rare new construction in which no room is ungainly or hard to imagine furnishing, much less sitting in.
There are many homes with views, but few as thoughtfully designed as 12 Pine Island. If you’re interested, call Holmes, he’s on the case.
- Robin Jovanovich